Every year on April 7, the World Health Organization (WHO) celebrates World Health Day. From its inception at the First Health Assembly in 1948 and since taking effect in 1950, the celebration has aimed to create awareness of a specific health theme to highlight a priority area of concern for the World Health Organization. Over the past 70 years, it has brought to light important health issues such as mental health, maternal and child care, and climate change. The celebration is marked by activities that extend beyond the day itself and serves as an opportunity to focus worldwide attention on these important aspects of global health. It is celebrated annually, and each year draws attention to a specific health topic of concern to people all over the world.
In 2021, World Health Day will focus on a campaign to build a fairer, healthier world. The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted how people are able to live healthier lives and have better access to health services than others – entirely due to the conditions in which they are born, grow, live, work, and age. The WHO is calling on leaders to ensure that everyone has living and working conditions conducive to good health. COVID-19 has hit all countries hard, but its impact has been harshest on those already vulnerable communities, who are more exposed to the disease and less likely to have access to quality health care services.
What Happens on World Health Day?
The WHO organizes international, regional, and local events on World Health Day related to the year’s particular theme. They highlight initiatives and interventions that help to improve access to quality services and financial protection for people and communities. The day serves as a way to shine a light on what happens when people cannot obtain the services they need. As part of World Health Day, WHO works to hold policy-makers and politicians accountable through various campaign materials like public service announcements, interviews, events, advertising, and conversations on social media. It’s all about creating platforms for dialogue between beneficiaries, communities, their representatives, and policy-makers about the following issues:
How You Can Get Involved in World Health Day
Everyone has a part to play, whether it’s starting a conversation or contributing to structured dialogue towards policies that help your country achieve and maintain health standards.
- Government ministries bring about policy change to improve health and spur economic growth and social development
- Parliamentary health committees and health groups mediate between those that develop policy and those that execute it
- Political parties design their programs to meet the expressed needs of their supporters
- Professional associations protect the welfare of the workforce
- Civic organizations work on the ground and represent the concerns of different population groups
- Individuals use their own voices to demand good health services
- The media can help increase understanding of universal health care as well as transparency and accountability in policy-making
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